"The typical person, regardless of age, has about $44,000 in their 401(k)," Wray explained. "Doesn't seem like much, but remember it's a savings and investment plan."
A major driver of retirement savings is the employer match, he said. But a number of variables come into play.
Wray likes to use an illustrative calculation -- a hypothetical worker who is 50 years old and who makes $50,000 a year.
"If that person puts 8 percent a year into their 401(k) and their employer puts in 3 percent, and assuming an 8 percent market return, and assuming the person can work until they are 67, that person will have $400,000 by the time they retire," Wray said. "Factor in social security and perhaps a $33,000 per year annuity for that $400,000 and the person will be receiving around $66,000 a year when they turn 67."
For investors who have lost confidence that the stock market can produce any positive returns let alone an annualized average return of 8 percent, there are options.
Various investment products have specifically been designed for the ultra cautious or faint of heart.
Howard Present, CEO of Wellesley, Mass.-based based F-Squared Investments, said that he doesn't buy into "buy and hold" axiom, and believes that most individual investors are wrongly conditioned to just set their money in a low-cost mutual fund and leave it there no matter what happens.
"The main concept to remember, especially as you near retirement age, is the importance of defending your core holdings," Present stressed. "You want to participate on the upside while avoiding major down swings."
F-Squared's two main portfolios mix and match nine sector-specific Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, paring back on sectors that seem overheated. One of F-Squared's portfolios only lost 9 percent during the crash of 2008, while the other lost 2 percent. That same year the S&P 500 lost 37 percent.
"The idea is not to chase returns," Present said. "Instead, just be disciplined about avoiding big losses." "
Added Wray: "It's never too late to start building your nest egg, even if you just turned 50."
So take a deep breath late boomers. There's more time than you think.